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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Prior to enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155, the term “soft money” generally referred to unregulated funds, perceived as resulting from loopholes in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 2 U.S.C. §§ 431 et seq. Generally, the intent of BCRA, (effective Nov. 6, 2002), which amends FECA, is to restrict the raising and spending of soft money. This Issue Brief discusses constitutional and legal issues surrounding two major types of soft money that BCRA regulates: political party soft money and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. Corporate and labor union soft money, which FECA exempts from regulation and is not addressed by BCRA, is also discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4387/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Prior to enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155, the term “soft money” generally referred to unregulated funds, perceived as resulting from loopholes in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 2 U.S.C. §§ 431 et seq. Generally, the intent of BCRA, (effective Nov. 6, 2002), which amends FECA, is to restrict the raising and spending of soft money. This Issue Brief discusses constitutional and legal issues surrounding two major types of soft money that BCRA regulates: political party soft money and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. Corporate and labor union soft money, which FECA exempts from regulation and is not addressed by BCRA, is also discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4388/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Prior to enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155, the term “soft money” generally referred to unregulated funds, perceived as resulting from loopholes in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 2 U.S.C. §§ 431 et seq. Generally, the intent of BCRA, (effective Nov. 6, 2002), which amends FECA, is to restrict the raising and spending of soft money. This Issue Brief discusses constitutional and legal issues surrounding two major types of soft money that BCRA regulates: political party soft money and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. Corporate and labor union soft money, which FECA exempts from regulation and is not addressed by BCRA, is also discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4389/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Prior to enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155, the term “soft money” generally referred to unregulated funds, perceived as resulting from loopholes in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 2 U.S.C. §§ 431 et seq. Generally, the intent of BCRA, (effective Nov. 6, 2002), which amends FECA, is to restrict the raising and spending of soft money. This Issue Brief discusses constitutional and legal issues surrounding two major types of soft money that BCRA regulates: political party soft money and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. Corporate and labor union soft money, which FECA exempts from regulation and is not addressed by BCRA, is also discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4386/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Prior to enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155, the term “soft money” generally referred to unregulated funds, perceived as resulting from loopholes in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 2 U.S.C. §§ 431 et seq. Generally, the intent of BCRA, (effective Nov. 6, 2002), which amends FECA, is to restrict the raising and spending of soft money. This Issue Brief discusses constitutional and legal issues surrounding two major types of soft money that BCRA regulates: political party soft money and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. Corporate and labor union soft money, which FECA exempts from regulation and is not addressed by BCRA, is also discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs5850/
Armed Career Criminal Act (18 U.S.C. 924(e)): An Overview
This report briefly explores the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e), which requires imposition of a minimum 15-year term of imprisonment for recidivists convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm under 18 U.S.C. 922(g). Section 924(e) applies only to those defendants who have three prior state or federal convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses. The report includes descriptions of constitutional challenges to the application of section 924(e), which have been generally unsuccessful. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29614/
Balanced Budget and Spending Limitations: Proposed Constitutional Amendments in the 97th Congress
Expenditures and revenue limitation proposals link Federal spending and taxation to some measure of economic performance, such as the rate of economic growth or percentage levels of GNP or national income. The report presents this issue brief reviews, the various approaches to balance the budget and to impose spending limitations offered as constitutional amendments’ in the 97 congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8820/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendments
Many Members of Congress see continued tension between "free speech" decisions of the Supreme Court, which protect flag desecration as expressive conduct under the First Amendment, and the symbolic importance of the United States flag. This report is divided into two parts. The first gives a brief history of the flag protection issue, from the enactment of the Flag Protection Act in 1968 through current consideration of a constitutional amendment. The second part briefly summarizes the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court, Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman, that struck down the state and federal flag protection statutes as applied in the context punishing expressive conduct. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29493/
The Constitutionality of Requiring Photo Identification for Voting: An Analysis of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board
In a splintered decision issued in April 2008, the Supreme Court upheld an Indiana statute requiring identification for voting, determining that lower courts had correctly decided that the evidence in the record was insufficient to support a facial attack on the constitutionality of the law. Written by Justice Stevens, the lead opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board finds that the law imposes only "a limited burden on voters' rights," which is justified by state interests. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10744/
Constitutionality of a Senate Filibuster of a Judicial Nomination
This report provides an overview of the major issues which have been raised recently in the Senate regarding the Judicial Nominations, Filibusters, and the Constitution: When a Majority Is Denied Its Right to Consent and in the press concerning the constitutionality of a Senate filibuster (i.e., extended debate) of a judicial nomination. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4026/
Constitutionality of a Senate Filibuster of a Judicial Nomination
This report provides an overview of the major issues which have been raised recently in the Senate regarding the Judicial Nominations, Filibusters, and the Constitution: When a Majority Is Denied Its Right to Consent and in the press concerning the constitutionality of a Senate filibuster (i.e., extended debate) of a judicial nomination. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs5765/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1461/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1459/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs5756/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3934/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3933/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3930/
Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9267/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendments
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9725/
The Eighteen Year Old Vote: The Twenty-sixth Amendment and Subsequent Voting Rates of Newly Enfranchised Age Groups
This report traces the progress of proposals to expand the right to vote to citizens between the ages of 18 and 21, culminating in the ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1971. It also reviews the voting rates of the newly enfranchised age group and compares them to voting rates of other age groups. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8805/
Legal Analysis of President Reagan's Proposed Constitutional Amendment on School Prayer
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8801/
Constitutionality of Requiring Sexually Explicit Material on the Internet to be Under a Separate Domain Name
It is unclear whether making a “.xxx” domain mandatory would violate the First Amendment. Some propose making use of a “.xxx” domain voluntary, but others propose that Congress make it mandatory. The latter proposal raises the question whether a mandatory separate domain would violate the First Amendment, and this report focuses on that question. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9146/
Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends
The Supreme Court has expressed an interest "that Congress be able to legislate against a background of clear interpretive rules, so that it may know the effect of the language it adopts." This report identifies and describes some of the more important rules and conventions of interpretation that the Court applies. Although this report focuses primarily on the Court's methodology in construing statutory text, the Court's approach to reliance on legislative history are also briefly described. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26119/
Federal Gun Control Laws: The Second Amendment and Other Constitutional Issues
This report examines the historical, legal, and constitutional arguments for and against an individual right to bear firearms under the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Those who favor federal gun control laws tend to assert that the Second Amendment has been correctly interpreted by the courts to confer only a collective right, which may be exercised through state militias. Those who oppose gun control laws tend to assert that the Second Amendment should be interpreted to grant an individual right to bear arms for lawful purposes, subject to appropriately minimal restrictions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26076/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment
Many Members of Congress see continued tension between "free speech" decisions of the Supreme Court, which protect flag desecration as expressive conduct under the First Amendment, and the symbolic importance of the United States flag. Consequently, every Congress that has convened since those decisions were issued has considered proposals that would permit punishment of those who engage in flag desecration. This report is divided into two parts. The first gives a brief history of the flag protection issue, from the enactment of the Flag Protection Act in 1968 through current consideration of a constitutional amendment. The second part briefly summarizes the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court, Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman, that struck down the state and federal flag protection statutes as applied in the context of punishing expressive conduct. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10525/
Excited Utterances, "Testimonial" Statements, and the Confrontation Clause
The United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument this term in appeals from two state supreme court cases, Hammon v. Indiana and Davis v. Washington, concerning the admissibility of “excited utterance” statements made by non-testifying witnesses at criminal trials. In the landmark Crawford v. Washington case in 2004, the Court held that the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause forbids hearsay “testimonial” evidence from being introduced against the accused unless the witness is unavailable to testify and the defendant has had a prior opportunity to crossexamine the witness. However, the Crawford Court declined to provide a comprehensive definition of “testimonial,” leaving such task “for another day.” digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8256/
Charitable Choice: Legal and Constitutional Issues
This report provides analysis of a number of factual, civil rights, and constitutional questions that have been raised regarding charitable choice in general. The analysis is generally focused on those provisions enacted as part of the 1996 welfare reform law. More recent charitable choice rules may give rise to the same or similar concerns. Primarily, this report focuses on civil rights concerns that have arisen in the context of charitable choice and First Amendment issues, as well as recent legal developments related to charitable choice. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8340/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6851/
Federalism, State Sovereignty and the Constitution: Basis and Limits of Congressional Power
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs5387/
Federalism, State Sovereignty and the Constitution: Basis and Limits of Congressional Power
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs5386/
Federalism and the Constitution: Limits on Congressional Power
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1942/
Legislative Prayer and School Prayer: The Constitutional Difference
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs109/
Election Projections: First Amendment Issues
Media projections may be based both on exit polls and on information acquired as to actual ballot counts. The First Amendment would generally preclude Congress from prohibiting the media from interviewing voters after they exit the polls. It apparently would also preclude Congress from prohibiting the media from reporting the results of those polls. Congress, could, however, ban voter solicitation within a certain distance from a polling place, and might be able to include exit polling within such a ban. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1637/
Military Personnel and Freedom of Religion: Selected Legal Issues
This report provides an overview of the requirements of the First Amendment related to military personnel's religious exercise. It analyzes current constitutional and statutory requirements regarding religious exercise, and provides a framework for how Congress and the courts might consider future issues that arise related to service members' religious exercise. Specifically, the report examines the limitations placed on service members in uniform in the exercise of their religious beliefs. It also examines the role of military chaplains and the legal challenges associated with publicly funding religious personnel. The report analyzes efforts by Congress and the Department of Defense to address the constitutional concerns that are raised by these issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103089/
Constitutional Constraints on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment
Federal protection of the environment must hew to the same constitutional strictures as any other federal actions. In the past decade, however, the Supreme Court has invigorated several of these strictures in ways that present new challenges to congressional drafters of environmental statutes. This report reviews six of these newly emergent constitutional areas, with special attention to their significance for current and future environmental legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1186/
Farm Product "Check-Off" Programs: A Constitutional Analysis
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9116/
The Americans with Disabilities Act: Eleventh Amendment Issues
This report provides a brief overview of the Eleventh Amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1147/
Legal Standing Under the First Amendment's Establishment Clause
This report analyzes the constitutional issues associated with standing (a restraint on the power of federal courts to render decisions), specifically related to cases arising under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment regarding religion. It provides a background on the doctrine of standing, including the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of various types of standing: standing to sue as a citizen, as a taxpayer, and on behalf of another party. It also examines the current standing rules related to the Establishment Clause. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc97978/
Presidential Signing Statements: Constitutional and Institutional Implications
Presidential signing statements are official pronouncements issued by the President contemporaneously to the signing of a bill into law that, in addition to commenting on the law generally, have been used to forward the President's interpretation of the statutory language; to assert constitutional objections to the provisions contained therein; and, concordantly, to announce that the provisions of the law will be administered in a manner that comports with the administration's conception of the President's constitutional prerogatives. This report focuses on the use of signing statements by recent administrations, with particular emphasis on the Administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87318/
The Assault Weapons Ban: Review of Federal Laws Controlling Possessions of Certain Firearms
This report reviews the 1994 assault weapons ban, which is effective for ten years on 19 types of semiautomatic assault weapons. The Act builds upon a 60-year history of federal regulation of firearms. The report also summarizes the pre-1994 federal gun control laws, analyzes the major cases relating to constitutional and statutory challenges to these laws, and reviews judicial and legislative developments since enactment of the ban. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26068/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment - of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech. For example, the Court has decided that the First Amendment provides no protection to obscenity, child pornography, or speech that constitutes "advocacy of the use of force or of law violation ... where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29495/
Federal Farm Promotion ("Check-off") Programs
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 affirmed the constitutionality of the so-called beef check-off program, one of the 18 generic promotion programs for agricultural products that are now active nationally. Supporters view check-offs as economically beneficial self-help activities that need minimal government involvement or taxpayer funding. Producers, handlers, and/or importers are required to pay an assessment, usually deducted from revenue at time of sale - thus the name check-off. However, some farmers contend they are being "taxed" for advertising and related activities they would not underwrite voluntarily. The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the beef check-off is considered significant for the future of the other programs, although the Court left open the possibility of additional challenges. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26082/
Delegation of the Federal Power of Eminent Domain to Nonfederal Entities
Congress has on several occasions delegated its power of eminent domain to entities outside the federal government -- public and private corporations, interstate compact agencies, state and local governments, and even individuals. The constitutionality of such delegation, and of the exercise of such power by even private delegates, is today beyond dispute. However, among delegates with both federal and private characteristics, there is some subjectivity to deciding which to list in a report limited to "nonfederal entities." For delegatees of federal eminent domain power listed here, delegations since 1920 have primarily been to Amtrak, hydroelectric facilities (for dams and reservoirs), and entities engaged in the movement of electricity, gas, and petroleum (the last one expired), and for interstate bridges. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10746/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2242/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2241/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1453/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs5752/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3917/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3916/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3915/